Poetry in music: intoxicating lyrics

"'Cause tomorrow's keep on blowing in From somewhere." Bic Runga, Listening for the Weather, 2002. Storm surf at Takapuna Beach, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

” ‘Cause tomorrow’s keep on blowing in from somewhere.” Bic Runga, Listening for the Weather, 2002. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

NZMM2016_jpg

This week at Where’s my Backpack, Ailsa’s Travel Theme word is poetry.

As someone with very little musical ability, but an enormous love of language, it is usually the poetry of the lyrics that draws me into a song.

I could probably have chosen any of Bic Runga‘s songs for this post. Her single Sway was voted the 6th best New Zealand song by members of the Australasian Performing Rights Association, and I will enthusiastically warble my way through every song on her second album Beautiful Collision if there’s no-one around to hear me.  But I’ve chosen Listening for the Weather, because I just love the opening lines:

Listening For The Weather

So, I’m listening for the weather,
To predict the coming day.
Leave all thought of expectation
To the weatherman.
No it doesn’t really matter
What it is he has to say,
‘Cause tomorrow’s keep on blowing in
From somewhere.

All the people that I know
In the apartments down below,
Busy with their starring roles
In their own tragedies.

[Chorus]
Sunlight sends you on your way,
And those restless thoughts that
Cling to yesterday.
Never be afraid of change.
I’ll call you on the phone.
I hate to leave you on your own,
But I’m coming home today.

And this busy inner city
Has got nothing much to say,
And I know how much you’re
Hanging ’round the letterbox.
And I’m sure that as I’m writing,
You’ll be somewhere on your way,
In a supermarket checkout
Or a restaurant.

I’ve been doing what I’m told.
I’ve been busy growing old,
And the days are getting cold,
but that’s alright with me.

[Chorus]

Yes I’m coming home today.

I’ve been doing what I’m told.
I’ve been busy growing old,
And the days are getting cold,
But that’s alright with me.

[Chorus]

 

Will it be as good as it looks in the book?

Recipe books, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Preparing to make Spanish Braised Chickpeas. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Recipe, tick; ingredients, tick. Looking forward to dinner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

With the Big T working in Melbourne pretty much every week, and the boy-child electing to spend his evenings with friends, I’m doing a lot of “meals for one” at the moment. The bonus is that I get to cook stuff that doesn’t have to please anyone else’s palate. The downside is that I’m running out of ideas.

But an afternoon spent poring over some recipe books has provided plenty of inspiration.

Now I just have to remember to scale the recipes down, so I don’t drown in leftovers.

This post is written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge, which has as its theme dinnertime — and for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack. The theme there this week, is books.

 

Driven to abstraction

Monochrome, macro shot of pohutukawa leaf, edited with Snapseed, Pixlr and Stackables. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Pohutukawa leaf. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Pixlr and Stackables.

In nature, it is normal for all parts of an organism –and indeed an entire eco-system — to work harmoniously to ensure survival.

The veins in a leaf transport water and nutrients (1); the health of the plant depends on that flow. All parts of the leaf need water and minerals so they can transport sap back to the rest of the plant. Neglect, decay or disease in any part of the system affects the well-being of the whole.

IMG_8325

Pohutukawa leaves. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Pixlr and Stackables.

It’s a simple idea that we accept in nature, yet ignore when it comes to human lives and systems. We over-fish and pollute our oceans, dig up and burn fossil fuels, destroy rain forests and the thousands of species that live in them, build roads and cities over land that once produced food, contaminate our food and water supplies … the list seems endless.

We have forgotten the most elemental truth:

The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth. — Marlee Matlin

In these pohutukawa leaves we can see the connections and the journeys between every part of the structure. I can edit the images in many ways, but the relationship stays the same.  Survival of the whole depends on the health of all the parts.

IMG_8334

Pohutukawa leaves. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Pixlr and Stackables.

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally, and Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. The theme in both cases is abstract.

(1) Leaf, Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

In my mind’s eye

Vanity: my favourite selfie. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

One-eyed selfie. Image: Su Leslie, 2014

Like many people, I don’t enjoy having my photo taken. Somehow, however much others may say they like this or that image, I seldom do. The woman I see may be wearing my clothes, jewellery and hairstyle, but that’s where the resemblance ends. She doesn’t match the mind’s-eye portrait of myself that I carry around.

Selfies are a way of partially managing this discontinuity between pixels and neurons; of controlling the flow of data from physical to electronic world.

Even then, it took about 80 shots to find one I was happy with.

As chance would have it, there is some overlap in the themes for both the Daily Post Photo Challenge (Eye Spy) and Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack (Self), and this image I think works quite well for both.

“From little things, big things grow”

From little things, big things grow. The figs are beginning to appear on my tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The figs are beginning to appear on my tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Fruit is a common metaphor in the language of change and progress. We talk of plans “coming to fruition”, and of ideas and movements “bearing fruit.” The underlying imagery is of good things growing from small beginnings. I find this comforting right now. Thinking about the issues facing our world — climate change, war, inequality, rampant corporate greed (to name a few)– makes me incredibly depressed. Yet at a personal level, in my daily life I experience compassionate, generous people doing their best to live a good life and tread lightly on our Earth. Sometimes, these good people come together, to work for larger goals. Sometimes, that’s enough to bear good fruit.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. The title is from the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song of the same name.

From Little Things Big Things Grow tells the story of how the Gurindji people of the Northern Territory of Australia sparked that country’s indigenous land rights movement. What began as a labour strike in 1966, became a much wider issue, and eventually resulted in an Act of Parliament granting title and some control over traditional lands to the local Aboriginal people.

Travel theme: feet

" an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.

How far he has travelled. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

This photo was taken eighteen months ago, just before my son turned 16. I had been rummaging in the “box of memories” and found his first proper shoes. The boy-child could hardly believe he had ever fitted into something so small.

Since then, his feet have grown more and he has traveled even farther — physically and emotionally. He has graduated high school, vacationed with us in Europe, taken his first solo holiday and found a job he loves. He’s also looking at university courses for next year and is starting to think about buying a car.

So I guess this photo is a metaphor for my son’s journey to adulthood; a journey that he is increasingly taking in huge strides, and in a direction of his own choosing. I miss the little boy who wore those tiny buckled shoes, but I am incredibly proud of the man he is becoming.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack.

 

 

Travel theme: grey

Memorial to the Women of World War II. Sculpted by John W. Mills. Whitehall, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Memorial to the Women of World War II. Sculpted by John W. Mills. Whitehall, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

As a colour, grey gets pretty bad press; associated with bad weather and gloomy days. But it is also the colour of many sculptures — like the bronze above which commemorates the enormous contribution made by women during war — and Rebecca Rose’s “Inflight Entertainment” below, which is made of stainless steel.

Rebecca Rose, "Inflight Entertainment", 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Rebecca Rose, “Inflight Entertainment”, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

The works below, by Trish Clarke and Merle Bishop are also in steel and bronze respectively, although the grey that predominates in the image is that of a stormy evening sky.

Trish Clarke's "Round Up aka Triffid Garden", and Merle Bishop's "Spot the Blind Dog", exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Trish Clarke’s “Round Up aka Triffid Garden”, and Merle Bishop’s “Spot the Blind Dog”, exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

London skyline on a stormy day. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

London skyline on a stormy day. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

In the two shots above, leaden skies hang over already grey structures. In countries were rain is abundant (like the UK and New Zealand) grey clouds are often spoken of negatively — something I’ve noticed increasingly in our TV weather forecasts. For me, they speak of drama and change — things I view positively.

Grey is this week’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack. You can see Ailsa’s wonderful shots here. And here are some other bloggers’ take on the theme that I liked:

Grey

https://drieskewrites.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/travel-theme-gray/

Travel Theme: Rouen’s Cathedral is a Study in Grey

Grey Days

https://sonyavdg.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/travel-theme-grey/

Travel Theme: Grey

https://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/travel-theme-grey-travels-around-new-zealand/

https://beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/shades-of-gray/

 

 

An old-fashioned day out

Old and new Auckland. Visitors to the 175th Anniversary Day celebrations

Contemporary Aucklanders contemplate some old-fashioned modes of transport as part of the city’s 175th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

It’s 175 years since the city of Auckland was established, and so our Anniversary Day celebration back in January was pretty special. One of the things I really enjoyed was a display of  large-scale photos from the Council archive showing how the city used to look. I have posted a couple of these images before, but I thought they were so appropriate for this week’s travel theme,  Old Fashioned, at Where’s my Backpack that I’ve re-edited and re-used them.

photo 2

A vintage car adds to the old-fashioned ambience of Auckland’s Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Old-fashioned oratory. A giant photo of Sir John Logan Campbell, one of the city's founding fathers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Old-fashioned oratory. A giant photo of Sir John Logan Campbell, one of the city’s founding fathers.  I wonder what he would have made of the casual dress code of modern New Zealanders? Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cars have changed a lot in the last 80 or so years, but the Auckland Town Hall looks pretty much the same. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cars have changed a lot in the last 80 or so years, but the Auckland Town Hall looks pretty much the same. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

On today’s modern becoming tomorrow’s traditional

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, with the new buildings of the Docklands area in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Generations of modernity. The Queen’s House,  the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and behind them, the new buildings of London’s Docklands area. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

 

The modernity of yesterday is the tradition of today, and the modernity of today will be tradition tomorrow.

Jose Andres Puerta

When The Queen’s House (1) was built for the wife of King James I in 1619, it would have been considered radical, unusual, and modern in the extreme.

Designed by Inigo Jones — regarded as Britain’s first modern architect — it is the first building constructed in the UK that consciously followed the principles of classical architecture, inspired by the temples and other buildings of ancient Rome and Greece. The Queen’s House now sits alongside Christopher Wren’s Greenwich Hospital (2) (better known now as the Old Royal Naval College) with its baroque Painted Hall, and both co-exist with the modernist glass towers of London’s Docklands.

Yinka Shonibare, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle. Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Yinka Shonibare, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The interplay of the modern and the traditional-which-once-was-modern is all around us.

I love the giant ship-in-a-bottle created by artist Yinka Shonibare. Using a traditional craft form developed by nineteenth century sailors (3), Shonibare created a very modern work of art in his replica of  HMS Victory. This was the naval ship from which the British hero Admiral Lord Nelson fought the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and on which he died during that battle. The ship’s sails are made from fabric bearing colourful batik designs commonly found in West Africa. By using this fabric, Shonibare acknowledges Britain’s complex colonial past and contemporary issues of immigration, ethnic identity, and cultural appropriation.

Nic Fiddian-Green, Still Water, 2011. Sited at Marble Arch, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Nic Fiddian-Green, Still Water, 2011. Sited at Marble Arch, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Bronze is a traditional sculptural medium, and horses a very traditional subject in art, but Nic Fiddian-Green‘s monumental, 10 metre high horse’s head at London’ Marble arch, is a thoroughly modern take on both form and subject.

The British Library, with St Pancras Hotel, London in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

The modernist British Library, with the gothic-style St Pancras Hotel in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

The British Library opened in 1998 on Euston Road, London. Designed by British architect Colin St John Wilson, it is the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century. The project took 37 years to complete and was highly controversial, with frequent changes to the design, specification, budget — even a total change of location (4).

The building’s design has been described as minimalist, brutalist, Scandanavian modernist. The Prince of Wales — famous for his loathing of modern architecture — apparently described it as resembling an academy for secret police (4).

The British Library has, as a neighbour on Euston Road, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (formerly the Midland Grand Hotel). Designed by English Gothic revival architect George Gilbert Scott, the original hotel opened in 1873. It closed in 1935, but was extensively renovated and re-opened in 2011. (6)

The irony of Gothic Revival architecture is of course, that even when it was new, it was never modern.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. This week’s theme was modern.

(1) The Queen’s House, Wikipedia.

(2) Old Royal Naval College website

(3) Ships in Bottles Association of America

(4) British Library, e-architect.co.uk

(5) Fiona MacCarthy, ‘A House for the Mind’, The Guardian, 23 February, 2008 (online)

(6) St Pancras Reniassance Hotel, Wikipedia.

Travel theme: endearing

Now 14, it's difficult to remember that these two were once cheeky, bouncy kittens. Photo: Su Leslie, 2000

Now 14, it’s difficult to remember that these two were once cheeky, bouncy kittens. Photo: Su Leslie, 2000

There are few things more endearing than beloved family pets.

Except perhaps watching children interact with said pets.

A rare cuddle. The boy-child's cat allergy has made him wary of too much contact. Photo: Su Leslie, 2009.

A rare cuddle. The boy-child’s cat allergy has made him wary of too much contact. Photo: Su Leslie, 2009.

The boy-child has grown up with two cats in his life. We got them the year we returned to NZ and they are now 14. At the time, we didn’t know he has a cat allergy. It didn’t take too long to find out though, so it hasn’t really been a close relationship between the boy and his pets, although I think he loves them dearly.

Clash of the Titians? The two "reds" in the family. Photo: Su Leslie, 2013

Clash of the Titians? The two “reds” in the family. Photo: Su Leslie, 2013

Despite being brother and sister, the cats aren’t at all alike. The grey and white male has always been much larger (probably because he lives to eat) yet more timid — while his smaller sister is always keen to find a warm lap to snuggle in.

Making himself comfortable. Our male cat has always been much bigger than his sister - who compensates by being smarter. Although it's all relative! Photo: Su Leslie, 2005

Making himself comfortable. Our male cat has always been much bigger than his sister – who compensates by being smarter. Although that is all relative! Photo: Su Leslie, 2005

What happens when you sleep in a pile of sappy leaves and twigs. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

What happens when you sleep in a pile of sappy leaves and twigs. We had to snip off little bits of his fur to free him from this mess. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

 

In the (rare) absence of a human to relax on, she will settle for the rug. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

In the (rare) absence of a human to relax on, she will settle for the rug. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Ailsa’s theme this week at Where’s My Backpack is endearing. Here are a few other bloggers’ take on the theme:

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/travel-theme-endearing/

https://dailymusing57.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/travel-theme-endearing/

http://closetoeighty.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/travel-theme-endearing/

http://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/pandas-of-chengdu-travel-themeendearing/

http://sonyavdg.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/travel-theme-endearing/

http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/the-milky-way/

http://memoriesaremadeofthisblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/travel-theme-endearing/

http://closetoeighty.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/travel-theme-endearing-2/

http://woollymuses.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/travel-theme-endearing/

http://snapsandstories.com/2014/08/10/travel-theme-endearing/